This article was originally published April 2, 2010
With 50 Years of Experience in Career Counseling, Judy White knows how to help alumni find jobs
When Judy White received an email from a colleague about a part-time position opening up at Metro State’s Office of Career Services in, she jumped at the chance for the job. Not long into the interview, Career Services knew they wanted White on board.
“I could do absolutely everything they needed to have done with no training,” she says. White has 50 years of experience and schooling as a professional career counselor with expertise in career assessments, counseling, job search skill building and management. She’s managed career centers, demonstrated success in helping students from getting to point A (choosing a major) to point B (getting a job post graduation), and, she says, “I am recognized for my team work, sense of humor, and high energy.” Though she was only supposed to stay one semester, she has been here nearly four years and will likely stay on until she decides to stop working.
“This is the best work environment I have had in my 50 year career,” White says. “Metro in my experience really is student focused more than any other higher ed institution I’ve worked at. They mean it, and they do it.” However, White and the other folks at Career Services don’t just serve current students; they also work closely with alumni.
Alums, she says, have unique needs. “They have decided their major, they have a degree, and they have tried to be out in the marketplace,” she explains. “Some are young, some are much older, some are making mid-life career change.” Because of their ages and life experience, they are often more comfortable working with White, who is of the “mature generation” (over 65). “Older students often say, ‘I’m so glad you’re here. I don’t trust the younger ones. They haven’t been around long enough.’”
White, in turn, appreciates working with alumni. “They’re older, they have lived a little longer, and they have a more realistic view of the world of work,” she says. “When I talk about info gathering and how you can apply it, they get it. The younger grad has to go out and live and work for a while to get that body of life information. That makes working an alumni more productive more quickly.”
Plus, she says, alumni know how to network. “They have contacts and are willing to use them.” Still, she has discovered other areas where she can really help alumni. She initiated two successful job search support groups the 2009/2010 school year, and she is spearheading another one for fall 2010. These groups offer alumni a review and four skill building sessions. Often, she adds, “they have no idea how to build the skills they need to implement a successful job search.”
Additionally, she has designed and implemented advanced resume writing classes that are specific to alumni. And, she works individually with alums. “I’m suggesting to more and more alumni that they take the two career assessments. Often, they are trying to make post-graduation career decisions without the information they need to do that. You need a body of information in two areas to make a good career choice,” she adds. “You need to know what your transferrable skills are—what are your strengths and limitations. And you need to know what kind of jobs people with similar personalities have found great satisfaction doing.”
She utilizes the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and Strong Interest Inventory to evaluate these things.
“There are lots of opportunities to gather that information about yourself,” White explains. “I suggest all graduates take these assessments so that they can build this important body of information.”
Another important thing to consider, adds White, is what the marketplace has to offer. Alumni should know the five top growth industries in the Colorado Economy and what the characteristics of the economy are. “This kind of information is critical to implementing a job search,” she explains. “Colorado is 99% small business. That means companies with 100 or fewer employees. Of that, the largest percentage is entrepreneurial companies.” This, she adds, means companies often need seasonal work and they are flexible.
With this knowledge, as well as knowledge about personality types and transferrable skills, says White, alumni can be better equipped for their job search. However, she adds, no matter how much assistance she and the Office of Career Services offers, “The bottom line is nobody can do it for you.” So, come on into the Office Mondays or Wednesday and get a head start. Click here for more info
Check out next week's Metro State College of Denver Job Blog for Judy White's suggestions on how to approach potential employers.